Migrants have traveled to the United States for hundreds of years because, until recently, the Land of the Free moniker meant something. Oppressed families could find new and meaningful lives in a new nation, where religion or place of birth might be a curiosity but wouldn't cause you to be subjected to hate.
Unfortunately, the so-called Moral Majority has taken over, rendering America more religious than at any time in her history. More folks go to churches and pray more often now than when the nation was founded, during any wars prior to the ones occurring now, during the Great Depression, and even the times of temperance and Prohibition. Americans are petitioning for religion to be mandatory at the military funerals of atheists and even though clergy were originally banned from being near standing armies, there are even religious tests for recruits, Bibles handed out everywhere, and chaplains are available to consult female crime victims not to report rapes.
To be sure, the fundamentalist conversion of america has many victims. Religious war drains coffers, each of the thousand or so anti-abortion bills costs money to try to unsuccessfully force into law, anti-gay bills cost money and so do efforts to force prayer into schools. Trying to override the Bill of Rights or even change the Constitution is really expensive in a time of need, but hey, you can just blame those damned resistant non-believers for all of it.
But what of us pesky heathens? Well, Atheists comprise 16% of the population- more than Jews, Muslims, and Scientologists combined. An average American is 5 times more likely to be an Atheist than a gay of any kind. An Atheist could be a university professor, but is also my 10 year old nephew.
In reality, In America right now, half of the population would rather trust a Christian prison inmate than my favourite micro-biologist. I remember being called a Satanist because I dared to sit down during a Christian prayer in my public school and my nephew has been forced to go to a church to try and get rid of his intelligent thoughts. There are a whole lot of people who don't seem to get the idea that the founding fathers of America were men who often derided religion, with Christianity a pet target. These guys said that the state shall establish no religion because most of them thought Christianity was divisive, mind-evaporating bullshit. (I can give you several hundred quotes if you would like this statement substantiated)
In North America, we have 3 fairly religious countries where being atheist is pretty darn uncomfortable and often unsafe. You see, a mere mention of one's lack of belief will usually cause the person to claim that you are "forcing" your non-belief on everyone. After this, the person will feel no problem in attempting to convince you that their chosen space demon is the right one and/or you are going to Hell. Religious tolerance has no meaning when it comes to those who aren't religious, at least in the eyes of those who actually believe the lie that America, Canada, or even Mexico are to be governed by religious institutions.
When someone asks me about my non-belief, I usually offer up some easy-to-understand reasons for why I don't believe in their particular faith. I will usually mention that I actually used to believe in a God, the one that Abram and Moses used to call their master, but don't anymore. I'll often explain that the reason is not some Bill Maher rant or Dawkins book, but my own self-actualization and the fact that I had read many, many religious texts and was sick of apologizing for a tyrannical figment of the imagination. Apparently my freethought has made me a member of the least trusted minority when I visit America, but also in Canada where I spend most of my time. Indeed, I've seen religious crap and anti-gay rants on the newsletter mailed out by my local Member of Parliament, "Dr." James Lunney, and there are more churches in this town than I can count. My mention of atheism is controversial at the very least on either side of the border, and several people have said that I should get out of the country.
Before you watch this very unique and thoughtful video, I offer up a very true statistic about exactly what would happen if you fundies got your wish:
If all Atheists were to be deported from America, you would lose philanthropic billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. You would lose soldiers and athletes and Jodie Foster. Photos memorializing Isaac Asimov, Marlene Dietrich, Mark Twain, Nehru, and Frank Zappa would all be burned. If all atheists were to get up and leave, over 93% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences would be on the boat, but a mere 0.16% of the prison population would join them.
If you can tell me that the world would be a better place without these people in it, you are in need of freedom from religion.